tv Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN September 15, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm PDT
neck tattoo in an online bet. exclamation point needed. so tomorrow's republican presidential debate begins here on cnn at 6:00 p.m. that is all for "the lead." i turn you over to wolf blitzer in "the situation room." happening now -- battle lines, as the gop candidates get ready for their next cnn debate. only 25 hours from now, donald trump is about to board a battle ship. he'll fire some salvos on national security and foreign policy. but will he expose his weak spot and open himself up to counterattacks? >> carson's surge, the former surgeon general dr. ben carson quietly catching up to the billionaire. the latest national poll shows them just four points apart. but that really means they're neck and neck. and bush and blitz, like all of the rest of the mainstream candidates, jeb bush is stuck in
single digits. can supporters give him a boost with $24 million advertising campaign? i'm wolf blitzer and you're in "the situation room." 25 hours and counting to the big republican showdown right here on cnn. but on this, the eve of the gop debate, here at reagan library in simi valley, california, there are other numbers we want to take a look at and need to look at right now. new poll shows donald trump is still the leader of the pack but he's now just four points ahead of dr. ben carson. 27% to 23%. with the sampling error, that's effectively neck and neck. will carson keep turning the other cheek, or will he go on the attack? it's all on the line right now for jeb bush, marco rubio, and
another so-called establishment candidates. they're all right now in single digits and they're sure to go all out in the debate tomorrow night trying to bring trump down to earth. bush supporters are trying to give him a jump start with a huge ad campaign while his rivals are prepping for the debate, trump is aboard a uss battle ship "uss iowa" he'll talk national security, international affairs, that supposedly a weak spot in his campaign but sure to fire up some major broadsides. let's begin our coverage this hour with our senior washington correspondent. jeff, set the scene. what's the latest? >> reporter: wolf, this is the place where the republican candidates hope to have a breakout moment here. it truly is not an overstatement to say this is a make or break moment for so many candidates. of course talking to the audience here in this stage. but it's the man in the center of the stage right there, donald trump, who they're all trying to
take down. we're going to have victory this is a movement that's happening. the donald trump movement sweeping the republican presidential race. he's riding a confident wave into the second gop debate. tomorrow night on cnn. >> we've had a lot of fun. and now it's time to really start. because this is going to happen, i'm telling you. >> reporter: trump and ben carson now battling for number one. a new poll today from "the new york times" and cbs news shows trump at 27%. carson suddenly close behind at 23. up from 6% in august. the rest of the field, battling to stay alive. jeb bush falling from 13% to 6. scott walker from 10% to 2. today, the bush super pac coming to the rescue or hoping to, starting a $24 million advertising blitz to tout bush as a true conservative. >> the state was florida. the governor was jeb bush.
proven conservative. real results. >> reporter: republicans say they're looking for an outsider, which has given rise to trump, carson, and carly fiorina. but they're torn over whether they want a candidate who burns red lot, like trump -- >> i hear they're all going after me, whatever. whatever! >> reporter: -- or more humble like the neurosurgeon dr. carson. >> it's human nature to think that whatever you do is the greatest thing and provides everybody with their messiah. i don't have that complex, quite frankly. >> reporter: six weeks after republicans shared a stage at their first debate, time is running short, and some candidates are desperate to jump start their campaigns. >> he buys and -- >> reporter: they've tried huffing and puffing but haven't blown trump's house down. today the conservative group club for growth launched a $1 million ad campaign in iowa aimed at trump. >> trump wants us to think he's mr. tell it like it is. but he has a record and it's
very liberal. >> reporter: as most conditions cram for the debate behind closed doors, trump is delivering another speech tonight. it's on foreign policy, he'll be on the deck of the "uss iowa" a battle ship that waged war in the pacific during world war ii. >> unless i win, it's been a waste of time for me, folks, i'll be honest with you. a total waste of time. i really mean that, too. >> now this foreign policy speech is the latest example of how donald trump is trying to involve in his campaign. he's trying to show republican voters and perhaps his rivals that he is substantive. that will be the central question, tomorrow night on this stage right here when donald trump takes center stage as the man with the front-runner's bull's-eye right on his back. wolf? >> less than 25 hours to go until these debates. donald trump will soon be on the deck of the battle ship "uss iowa" to talk about national security, international affairs, not necessarily, according to
critics, strong suit. will it expose any new weaknesses? let's go to our political reporter, sara murray, already over at the floating museum. set the stage for us. >> this is a veterans group hosting donald trump tonight and it's being billed as a national security speech. so i think the big question is, if we will see donald trump dive into more foreign policy issues than we usually see in his stump speech. we get more policy specifics from him. he's had a very busy week of campaigning. none of his speeches have been specialized. he's spending a lot of time tweaking his rivals out of the first debate. last night he went after carly fiorina. >> you know, one of the things that i'm happy about, i'm surging, they said. can you believe this one? i'm surging with women. can you believe it?
i have such respect for women. i cherish women. i'm going to take such good care of women's health care issues, you won't even believe it. but i'm surging with women. one of the things coming out, i'm watching television and they said, trump is surging with women. i said, really? that's amazing. it's incredible. i make statements because, carly's giving me a bit 0 a hard time, they her poll numbers are horrible. she's the one, she was another one, she's surging. ben -- everybody's surging but me. >> hillary for clinton. >> hillary's not surging. they're not saying that. >> reporter: now donald trump has said events like this are his own form of debate prep, meet with veterans, talk with voters and get more educated on issues. but as i talked to voters across the states, it's clear that they do want to see a little more substance from donald trump,
whether it's at the speech tonight or on the debate stage. wolf? >> we'll see how he does. thanks very much for that, sara murray. while donald trump's big brash personality certainly is gaining him lots of attention, dr. ben carson is quietly closing the gap. joining us now is dr. carson's campaign manager, barry bennett. thanks very much for joining us. let's talk about what's going on, your candidate surging, to use that word in the polls. new cbs news/"new york times" poll, jumped, what, 17 percentage points nationally ll among republican primary voters since last month alone in the early state of new hampshire. he rocketed 5% before the first debate to 17%. today, just getting ready for this debate. he was quiet in the last debate, you know. do you really expect him to engage the others on stage this time? walk us through his strategy. >> ben is going to be ben and doned is going to be donald.
ben spent his career cutting cancerous tumors out of the brains. yelling at tumors was not a very good strategy. he's going to be thoughtful, calculating, nice, and calm. >> if he's attacked by donald trump, will he remain careful and calm and nice? >> you know, i'm sure god loves donald trump and ben is trying. >> with so many candidates on the stage, does dr. carson need, though to assert himself maybe interrupt some of the other candidates? we saw some of that going on during the first debate. >> i think the contrast between two styles just him standing there being ben is such a big contrast, he'll do very well. >> let's talk a little bit about some of the exchange that has gone on recently because it could get ugly. dr. carson, as you know, avoided directly engaging with trump but trump didn't shy away from going after your candidate after your candidate criticized him on his
religion, let's say. listen to this. >> i don't know ben carson. he was a doctor, perhaps, you know, okay doctor, by the way, check that out, too. we did not talk about -- he was an okay doctor. >> i don't know about okay doctor. he was the first man to separate conjoined twins there because he's a doctor and hired one nurse, he's going to end up being the president of the united states? but for him to criticize me on my faith is absolutely -- for him to read from the bible, in his memory it looked like he memorized it two minutes before he went on stage. >> do you think you're more a man of faith than he is. >> he's not going to be the next president, i can tell you. >> if he hears that talk from donald trump tomorrow night, how do you -- what is your recommendation? what's your advice to your candidate? how does he respond. >> he will set the record straight. believe me. but he's not going to do it --
he's not going to return fire with ridiculous charges and name calling. that's just -- that's total ineffective. >> he did apologize -- that's unusual for presidential candidates -- to donald trump for raising questions about interrupt's faith. that was the right thing to do, right. >> yeah. absolutely. he didn't mean it as an attack on donald trump. it was one question led to another question led to another question and he's not -- donald's talked about his faith, you know, several times on the campaign trail. his words are for more interesting than anything that dr. carson could say. >> when dr. carson sees his numbers going up in the polls, he's still behind donald trump, but he's ahead in some of the states, some of the national polls, way ahead of all of the other republican candidates what happen goes through his mind? is he beginning to sense he has a real shot at becoming the republican presidential nominee? >> oh, yeah. we're running a campaign through the convention and we're going to try our best to become the nominee for sure. you know, it's not just the polling. the fund-raising is through the
roof right now. we've raised a record amount in august and we've already raised that much in the first 15 day of september. we're doing very well. >> all right. barry bennett, campaign manage forrer dr. ben carson. let me say, myself a graduate of johns hon ki johns hopkins university, he was a world-class surgeon. he wasn't simply an okay doctor. he was a lot better than okay. thanks very much for that, barry bennett, campaign manager for dr. ben carson. guys, thanks very much. what will they ask the candidates? up next, i'll speak to two of the questioners in tomorrow night's cnn debate. cnn's dana bash and hugh hewitt of salem radio. it takes a lot of work... to run this business. but i really love it.
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reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. i'm here. debate moderated by jake tapper with questions asked by hugh hewitt and cnn chief political correspondent, dana bash. both of whom are joining us now. hugh, talk about what we can expect. you've been questioning all of the republican presidential candidates on your radio show over these past several weeks
and months. what's your sense, who do you think will break through, there things get more combative tomorrow night? >> it's like a knesset debate. only way to get more interesting if jeffrey probst shows up and "survivor" breaks out. ready for jake to blow the whistle and go at each other and that will make for a very, very interesting couple of hours tomorrow. >> donald trump, as you well know,ccused you of got ya questioning when you asked him specific questions on national security foreign policies about to deliver a major speech on national security in a couple of hours. how do you think that dynamic will play out tomorrow night? >> well, i've talked to donald trump since then and we're good. he did mishear quds, kurds, that's a problem that happens with transmission. he didn't know the difference between hamas and hezbollah.
that's a legitimate answer. i'm not out to get anybody, i don't think dana is either. i want to hear the differences between the candidates on key issues of national security and domestic policy. i have no favorites, vie no disfavorites. i think it will be more about the candidates talking to each other than the panel is. >> that's the way it should be. dana, explain how the debate could differ in style. >> the other debate, which i thought was fascinating, i was there, i couldn't keep my eyes off of it, but it was different in style because it was a series of inter view questions. that three, you know, amazing journalists asking their own questions of each candidate and except for the one memorable moment when rand paul and chris christie engaged on the very important issue of national security and of the data collecting and the differences over that between civil
liberties and flat security, you didn't have a lot of interaction between the candidates. our goal is to have almost entirely debate of interaction between the candidates, because that's what i think the republican voters out there deserve. they want to hear the differences on issues and also on kind of approach between these two candidates and for them to mix it up. >> good point. you're driving from stanford to the debate site in simi valley, you want time to think. how do you prepare for a huge night like tomorrow night? >> well, i spent a lot of time with jake and dana and your amazing team at cnn on the weekend and they are really quite incredible in the depth and breadth of their research. i've been at stanford for a couple of days listening and talking with condi rice, george schultz. we had general james mathis with bill hemmerer, a debate questioner in the first debate, talking about what is the purpose of a panelist.
jake's got the big job here. he's got to keep the time and trains running. dana and i just get to throw a question on the table and hopefully leads to what she said, exchanges between candidates, not between panelists and candidates. so i'm just very impressed with the entire cnn setup. they've got this so deeply researched. i can't imagine any candidate will come away saying they didn't have fair questions and a fair shot to impress republican primary voters with why they ought to support them. >> i think you're absolutely right, having worked here at cnn for 25 years. excellent preparation going on. dana, this is a much smaller venue, 500 people in the audience as opposed to thousands who were in a basketball stadium in cleveland a few weeks ago. and that could have an impact. >> that's right. lebron james cannot play basketball on the stage that we have built, which is the venue in cleveland. i think it is different and i think it will sort of feel more intimate which is good. i think the question is going to
be for donald trump who very much fed off of the crowd last time around, you know, with the rosie o'donnell moment and so many others. it's going to be a very different kind of thing. i think certainly people in the audience but i think it will probably feel to him more like you know the set of the "apprentice" as opposed to being a big crowd on the stuch. >> good luck. hugh hewitt good luck. we will be watching, it's fair to, people all over the world will be watching, as well. the republican presidential candidates now just one day away from their second debate right here at the reagan presidential library. you can, of course, see it right here tomorrow night only on cnn. you hear the debate, by the way, across the country on the salem radio network. to find the debate on radio in your area, go to salemmedia.com. coming up, the high stakes for one-time republican front-runner jeb bush. supporters just started spending
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speech from donald trump. that's coming up tonight. he'll be on the battle ship "uss iowa" tonight to talk about his ideas on national security. let's get some insight from our cnn political commentators. joined by s.e. cupp, dan pfeiffer, former senior adviser to president obama along with kevin madden and anna navarra. trump gets a chance to flex his muscles aboard "uss iowa" people are saying on national security, almost a dress rehearsal for him going into the debate tomorrow night. i can't see trump doing a dress rehearsal. i feel like he's been doing this celebrity candidacy thing for so long that he doesn't really need that. i think it's trump being trump. one of the things i think he's doing tonight is taking this card off of the table where so many of the other candidates will say, donald trump's not serious on national security, he doesn't have any policy platform.
during the debate, he's going to have rhetorical touch stone he can go back to anytime any of the other candidates or the moderators press him on national security or foreign policy issues. >> people are saying this is for jeb bush really coming down to make or break night tomorrow night. i know you like jeb bush. you support jeb bush. you're friends with him. he's not doing well in polls now. what does he need to do tomorrow night to get himself back in the groove? >> what do you mean he's not doing well in polls? >> numbers are not good. >> he's number three, he's on the other side of donald trump. he's doing better than the other 14 people. >> single digits. >> better than 14 other people. >> that's not good enough to go after dr. ben carson or jeb bush. >> the question is, is it a make or break moment. i think one thing that jeb bush has done very smartly and strategically is he built himself a structure and got the financial resources in place so he can play the long game. he has got the ability to wait this out so that the field goes whittling down. what he has to do is make sure
that when that field whittles down he's standing there. if it's donald trump, jeb bush is the al tentative to donald trump. >> that super pac in going after, trying to strengthen they have $100 million, they'll spend 25%, $25 million in commercials promoting him in iowa, new hampshire, south carolina, that's a lot of money to spend at this early stage. >> well they have a lot of money and they have a lot of money they can spend. he said, i'm going to load up front and i'm going to put a lot of money into this before i start the campaign. you know we all criticized him for spending six months doing this. but you know, he put nuts away for the winter. >> s.e. cupp, a lot of people think he's got to show up tomorrow night and go after trump, maybe even go after dr. ben carson. really beloved by a lot of the republicans who are going to be watching this debate out there. what is this strategy? what does he need to do? >> i think, he's playing the
long game what happen he has to hope for is that when and if trump and carson deflate, republicans don't run to other jeb-like candidates, right? he can sort of justify not getting a lot of the conservative excitement because they're for totally different people, in donald trump and ben carson. if conservatives start flocking to a scott walker or a kasich, then jeb has a much tougher time saying, well, it's not me that they don't like, it's that they like this anti-establishment. if they like another kind of jeb, then he's in real trouble. >> not flocking to scott walker. >> not yet. >> his numbers have gone down, down, at the same time. i'll get to you in a minute kevin. donald trump, another ad campaign against donald trump from the club for growth. it's an outside group, they're going after him, saying falsely advertising that i will raise taxes, that's what trump says about this ad campaign they have just launched. take a look at donald trump's
tweets. when you attack donald trump, get ready to be hit back even harder. >> right. look, one of the things that this helps donald trump with is his able to say, i'm the anti-establishment guy, i'm the one that's going against all of the money interest, all of the washington insiders are gearing up. sort of plays perfectly into his message. and the other interesting thing about it is that they're going to put, you know, a couple -- a million dollars into ads out in iowa but with one tweet, donald trump can counter that and doesn't have to spend a dime. it's a fascinating dynamic to watch as part of modern campaigns and how the trump campaign is using it to their advantage. >> he doesn't have to spend money for advertising because he go on television. unlike other candidate whose are afraid of interviews. donald trump goes on television, almost whenever some network asks him, and that turns out to be good advertising. >> he creates and then manages entire news cycles all about
donald trump. and all of the these other campaigns are having the hardest time breaking through. the only way they ever get coverage now is when they attack donald trump. that's a very tough place to be if you're other candidates. >> that doesn't help in numbers either based on the statistics we've seen. let's talk about dr. ben carson. he's doing amazingly well now. another outsider like donald trump. he says you don't have to be loud to be energetic. that's sort of in response to donald trump suggesting like jeb bush, he's low energy, soft, not ready to be president of the united states. what's his -- should be his strategy tomorrow night? >> i have no idea what ben carson has done to get this level of support but wlaefr it is, he should keep doing it. i don't think he should be donald trump-like and attack other conditions or donald trump. one thing he needs to do if he gets attacked, defend himself. unlike donald trump, who everybody knows everything about, people don't know a lot about ben carson. if people put negative information in the atmosphere and he does not respond, he can go right back into the pack
quickly. >> he must be really energized. take a look at numbers, new cbs/"new york times" poll in august trump at 24%, nationally among republicans. he's 27%, leader of the pack. in august, dr. cancer was at 6% he's at 23%. that's going to energize him. just looking at those numbers. >> i'm not sure how much more energizing he needs and i'm not sure what his definition of energized means. it seems most of folks on the stage are running to be commander in chief. to him, energy means to be insulter in chief. i think tomorrow's going to be very interesting with ben carson and jeb bush. one of the things that is different in this debate is that the poed diums are crazy close,o feet from each other. a lot of hand movement and they're literally in each other's personal space. might as well play rock, paper, scissor. >> arm wrestling. if there's a tie, arm wrestling.
>> we'll have front row seats, watching it very, very closely. don't go door fa far away. as donald trump and rivals prepare for the debate, what happened to ronald reagan's advice, republicans shouldn't speak ill of one another. watching other developing stories including new fr information from the shooting death of an illinois police officer. when you do business everywhere, the challenges of keeping everyone working together can quickly become the only thing you think about. that's where at&t can help. at&t has the tools and the network you need, to make working as one easier than ever. virtually anywhere. leaving you free to focus on what matters most.
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we're counting down to cnn's republican presidential candidates debate here at ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. president reagan liked to quote the so-called 11th commandment, thou shall not speak ill of another republican. a commandment broken repeatedly this year by all of -- not all necessarily, but most of the republican presidential candidates. they get attacked, they attack right back especially donald trump when he's attacked, he does not hold back. joining us now are cnn political commentator ryan liz za, he's the washington correspondent for the "new york" magazine and cnn politics senior digital correspondent, chris moody. what about the so-called 11th commandment, ryan? embraced by ronald reagan. here at ronald reagan presidential library, do these candidates tomorrow night need to respect their? do they need to play nice?
>> you know, that commandment's more talked about than honored over the years, right, wolf? reagan coined that back into the '60s when he was the sort of conservative firebrand and liberal republicans attacking him and he used that as a defensive mechanism. so the liberals in his party wouldn't go after him. you know, look, donald trump certainly has not abided by the 11th commandment, if anything, he's come up with the 12th commandment, maybe the trump's only commandment, attack everyone of your opponents repeatedly and i think over the last week what's happened, his front-runner status solidified, one of first republicans left the race, rick perry. what did rick perry do? he attacked trump forcefully than ever. i do not think that commandment will be respected tomorrow night, at least by trump. >> chris, some other republican candidates who need a boost, in single digits, medium, low
single digits right now, do they need a boost by going after trump directly on that debate stage tomorrow night? >> that certainly a strategy for many of them. now of course, they don't always follow ronald reagan's advice to the tee and on immigration, providing amnesty to illegal immigrants or undocumented immigrants or also when he was trying -- the insurgent he was going after republicans as well in the 1970s. but there are candidates that have been able to make a name for themselves by going after them, rand paul made an effort at that in the last debate and didn't go quite well for him. i think we'll start to see a different attempt from him. he's going to be on the far end of the debate stage. jeb bush will make an effort, we seen in the ads by the super pac, they give us a flavor of what they might look like. >> chris christie, former -- the current governor of new jersey, ryan, he's got to do something to jump start his campaign right now. i'm getting a sense, though, we could see livery attacks by him.
what do you think? >> yeah, he's had an interesting strategy over the last couple of weeks. look, he's been hovering in the low single digits for weeks and weeks. remember back in 2013, when he won a huge re-election in new jersey considers a potential front-runner in the race. it's a long, steady fall for him. but his strategy has been to go after not just trump but go after jeb bush as well, and it's sort of this -- to talk about how voters don't want a food fight between trump and bush and that they're not actually addressing the problems before the country and to sort of, you know, criticize both of those guys and try to talk about his own positive agenda. that's the tension here. most of these other candidates are not known, they can't get in front of voters and explain what they're all about. so they have two things they need to do. one, they have to clear the way and get somehow damage trump but at the seame time don't want to
be defined by negative attacks. pretty tough balancing act. >> yes, indeed. thanks very much. >> coming up, trump's on top, carson closing in dramatically but a new poll shows mainstream candidate says they're faltering. do they find a way to bring down the gop front-runner in tomorrow's cnn debate? plus, no trace of the suspects, unusual gunshot wound and unknown dna. we have new information on the mysterious shooting death of an illinois police officer. just might be the one. to clean the oceans, to start a movement, or lead a country. it may not be obvious yet, but one of these kids is going to change the world. we just need to make sure she has what she needs. welcome to windows 10. the future starts now for all of us.
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we're live here at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. we're counting down to the republican candidates debate here on cnn. much more coming up on that in a few moments. but we're also following other stories as well including new information about that mysterious death of an illinois police officer. lieutenant joseph gliniewicz was shot to death two weeks ago shortly after he radioed he was chasing three suspects. let's get the latest from our c cnn. >> it was found on lieutenant joe gliniewicz service weapon that was found at the scene. officials have not traced that dunn back to anyone, but the hope among investigators that that that dna belongs to one of the three suspects this they're searching for right now. forensic scientists we've been speaking to say this could be a crucial clue because not everyone would have had access
to his weapon. and so what officials are doing is analyzing the dna, putting together a profile and then running it through a national dna database to see if there's a match with any convicted felons already in the database. but the tricky part here is, wolf, if the dna doesn't match a convicted felon, then that means investigators, you know, have to look at the other people they've been talking to, people of interest, investigators working on this case that may have touched his weapon, any family or friends that have touched this weapon. so if there is no match in the database, it's going to be very challenging for officials working on this case. also we've learned that the second shell casing in this shooting was found at a different area than the crime scene, not where lieutenant gliniewicz' body was found, indicating that the two shots that were fired happened at different locations within this crime scene. wolf? >> are they considering all sorts of other options as well,
what might have happened? what are you hearing about that? >> they are. in fact, we're learning two weeks after the shooting of lieutenant gliniewicz, there still hasn't been any trace of the three suspects is that he radioed in to dispatch, the two white men, one black man. as a result we're learning that investigators are considering the possibility, wolf, that this was a self-inflicted gunshot wound because the videos haven't shown these three suspects. nothing has panned out with that. there have been no eyewitnesses, nothing else to corroborate what lieutenant gliniewicz called in. we know the devastating wound was at a downward angle beneath his bulletproof vest. in talking to officials this does not have the hallmarks of a typical shooting. it's very puzzling, questions are mounting, but on the other hand investigators working off the fact that he radioed in about this, that there is this unknown dna on his service weapon. there are other facts that haven't been released to the
public. they continue to look at homicide as a leading theory here and also the fact that he was just weeks away from retiring, wolf. a lot of this doesn't add up. it's still very much a mystery. >> a huge mystery indeed. pamela brown, thanks very much. other important news we're following. kim jong-un may be giving the republican candidates something new to talk about tomorrow night. north korea is now warning that it's prepared to unleash its nuclear arsenal against the united states. brian todd is looking into this information for us. >> this is likely to be a contentious topic at the debate when candidates discuss the threats facing the united states. the new chairman of the joint chief of staffs says he cranks north korea above isis. kim jong-un's latest salvo certainly bears that out. kim jong-un rattles his nuclear saber at america. the head of his atomic energy program declaring the regime is ready to use its nuclear weapons at any time if the u.s. and
others pursue their, quote, reckless, hostile policy toward north korea." kim declaring his nuclear program is at full speed. the nuclear complex at nong bee ong is operating normally. a u.s. official tells cnn they have no reason to doubt the claim and analysts take the threat seriously. >> if you look here, the snow melt in this area. snow melt again on the reactor. this would indicate that the reactor is functioning, it's giving off heat causing that snow melt. also here in august, you can see tracks leading into the reactor area. that again shows that there's significant activity going on at these sites. >> reporter: kim's said to be obsessed with developing nuclear weapons as his father and grandfather were. his grandfather kim il sung founder of the country saw the united states bring imperial japan down to its knees with nuclear weapons. this is a regime that's been
interested in that for decades. contract kim's not stopping there. they're preparing to launch a satellite into orbit for scientific purposes. the united nations has warned north korea to call off the rocket launch. >> a satellite launch vehicle similar to this one pictured here could be used by north korea to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that's capable of reaching the united states and delivering a nuclear warhead. >> reporter: the north koreans aren't there yet. weapons experts say they haven't tested re-entry on those missiles and they could break apart. still these moves bring a warning tonight from washington demanding that kim stop his provocations. u.s. officials taking no chances, making sure kim knows what kind of missile defenses america has at the ready. >> ground-based interceptors to alaska, surface combatants to the western pacific. a thad battery on guam and another in japan in order to be ready and vigilant for anything the north koreans may or may not
do. >> reporter: why is he doing this now? experts say he's got to show strength for the upcoming anniversary of the founding of north korea's dictatorship and analysts say he's trying to keep his military leaders happy after purging so many of them. and flexing their nuclear muscle could be a way of keeping them at bay but only for the moment, wolf. >> everybody in washington, intelligence officials, national security officials very nervous about that october 10th anniversary date. that could be a target point that everybody is worried about right now. brian, thanks very, very much. coming up, as the gop candidates prepare for their big cnn debate right here at simi valley, california, the reagan presidential library, only 24 hours from now, donald trump is about to board a battleship. he's going to fire some broad sides on national security, but will he expose some weak spots, maybe open himself up to counterattacks. at&t and directv are now one.
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happening now, trump talks tough on this, the eve of cnn's republican presidential debate. a speech on national security by the gop front-runner. but a new poll shows ben carson surging right now barely behind donald trump. is the billionaire businessman losing his edge? fiery disaster, a devastating wildfire now threatening 9,000 homes after destroying almost 600. the flames burning out of control right now. will the weather help crews get the upper hand. putin intrusion. the russian president defiantly sending weapons to syria, adding fuel to the country's deadly
civil war. are the russians now building their own military base inside syria? and justice speaks out. my interview with the u.s. supreme court's stephen breyer. a candid conversation about controversial issues certain to come up in cnn's republican presidential debate tomorrow night including immigration and same-sex marriage. what does he make of the kentucky clerk who defied the u.s. supreme court and refused to give marriage licenses to gay couples? we want to welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you're in "the situation room." we're only 24 hours away from the cnn republican presidential debate tomorrow night right here at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. on the eve of this potentially game-changing face-off, donald
trump is about to deliver a national security speech from the deck of a former battleship, "the uss iowa" now a museum here in southern california, where he may test out some of the lines for tomorrow night's debate. now trump is facing increased competition from the famed neurosurgeon dr. ben carson who surged in a new nationwide poll of republicans. it shows him up from 6% to 23% just four points behind trump nationwide among republicans, but the numbers for jeb bush are much more troubling. that same poll shows him far behind, tied for third place. now a super pac backing the former florida governor is spending $24 million on ads in key states hoping to boost bush's ratings right now. cnn's john berman begins our coverage right now. what's happening with the republican candidates on this, the eve of this huge debate? >> wolf, last-second
preparations and from what i can tell, they are preparing for a fight. a little while ago i spoke to senator rand paul of kentucky. he was pretty tough on donald trump in the first debate. he told me he wasn't tough enough. he is gearing up to go right after the republican front-runner donald trump literally and figuratively the man in the middle. >> the polls come out, and we're really killing it. we are killing it. >> reporter: tonight a new poll from cbs news and "the new york times" shows ben carson closer than ever, with jeb bush drifting further and further back. carson was polling at 6% just one month ago while bush has dropped seven points since august. so far, though, nothing and no one has managed to push trump from his perch. >> what's donald trump say about the decision? >> reporter: but when the going gets tough, the tough go negative. for the first time an outside group, the conservative club for growth, opened its wallet. >> trump, the worst kind of
politician. >> reporter: announcing they will spend more than $1 million on two ads in iowa bashing trump for what they call his liberal economic ideas. >> he has a record, and it's very liberal. he's really just playing us for chumps. >> reporter: not to be out anti-trumped, governor bobby jindal polling at less than 1%, produced a new video, too, attacking how trump shapes his foreign policy views. >> in all fairness, you know, what do i know? >> reporter: trump knows the attacks are coming, but doesn't sound too concerned. >> so the debate. i hear they're all going after me. whatever. whatever. >> reporter: and despite recent dustups with carson and fiorina, not to mention bush, walker, paul and pataki, trump says he's willing to play mr. nice guy. well, nice guy-ish. >> i like carly, and i like ben. i mean, many of these people are terrific people.
but nobody's going to be able to do the job that i'm going to do. nobody. >> reporter: jeb bush supporters beg to differ. a super-pac backing bush is finally unleashing its vast war chest, spending $24 million on ads in iowa, new hampshire and south carolina. >> no charter schools. >> reporter: -- to high light his achievements in florida, hoping something if not spending will make people listen. now, no coincidence that big spending, these big ad buys happening right near in big debate. this is a pivot point for a lot of these candidates. if they don't turn things around now, there may not be much campaign for them going forward. wolf? >> certainly right. make or break for several of these republican presidential candidates. john berman, thanks very much. donald trump is about to give what his aides are describing as a major speech on a subject he's taken some hits on, national
security. the republican presidential front-runner has chosen a very, very fitting backdrop, a former u.s. battleship named "the uss iowa." our political reporter sara murray is on the scene for us down in the los angeles area. so what's the latest? set the scene for us on this big speech that trump is about to deliver, sara. >> well, you can see this stunning backdrop. i think the question is how far is he going to get into details on national security? he has been on the trail a lot this week, but every event so far has been very light on policy specifics. i think we're all wondering whether he's going to divulge a little more about his national security policies tonight. so far he's mainly been using his events to tweak some of his opponents. last night he took on carly fiorina. >> you know, one of the things that i'm really happy about, i'm surging, they said. can you believe this one? i'm surging with women. can you believe it?
i have such respect for women. i cherish women. i'm going to take such good care of women's health care issues, you won't even believe it. but i'm surging with women. one of the things coming out, i'm watching television, and they said, trump is surging with women. i said, really? that's amazing. you know what's incredible? i make like statements because carly's given me a little bit of a hard time even though her poll numbers are horrible. she's the one, she was another one. she's surging. ben is -- everybody's surging but me. hillary's not surging, i'll tell you that. they're not saying that. they're not saying -- >> now, i'm sure trump will have tough words for his opponents again tonight. but the other thing they'll do tonight is raise money for the veterans group hosting trump. tickets run from anywhere from
$100 to $1,000 if you want the premium seats. if you're a member of the military, however, you get in for free. wolf? >> and this has been a major cause on donald trump's part, raising money for u.s. military veterans. stand by for his big speech on national security. let's get more on what's going on. joining us the communications director sean spicer. thanks very much for joining us. you can't help but -- i saw you smiling during a lot of those clips we aired of donald trump and the others. this has been pretty exciting so far. >> this is amazing. this debate will be truly exciting. you see the level of enthusiasm building up for this. the number of tweets over 2 million people tweeting leading up to this debate which is a huge increase over the last debate. the excitement continues to grow. the number of people that are going to tune in i expect will be equal or around what we saw the last time because people are excited about what's happening
in the republican field. we have 15 amazing candidates. >> 24 million people watched the last time. we'll see what the number is tomorrow night. what do you want to hear specifically from these candidates? you want to hear differnces between them? you don't want to just hear some blah, blah, blah. >> we've got probably the most diverse and historically qualified folks running for president of the united states. you got a successful female business owner, the first fortune 20 successful businessman leading the pack, a successful retired neurosurgeon that accomplished amazing things, successful governors, senators, former senators. this is truly a historic field. i hope that with this backdrop, that people embrace reagan's 11th commandment, talk about their vision, what makes them the best candidate and probably doing a little attack on hillary clinton wouldn't be bad either. but i really hope what people talk about is why our party, our candidates have the better vision for america. >> you know some of the candidates will really go after donald trump. he's not a shy guy. as you know. you hit him, he hits you right
back. >> look, wolf, politics is a contact sport. we expect there to be some elbows thrown. but what i hope is that at the end of the day where we really focus our efforts is on hillary clinton, is on talking about the vision for america because, you know, yeah, we've got to separate ourselves. that's what primaries are about, distinguishing yourself from the next individual. but we've got great people up there. they've got great ideas. i hope that's what the focus is. >> you keep talking about hillary clinton. i don't know if you have seen these latest polls in iowa and new hampshire where she's behind -- >> we might need to lay off a little. i think we're doing too good of a job. but if it ends up being bernie sander, i'm even more excited about that. >> what if it ends up being joe biden? >> we'd do just fine. joe biden has served this country tremendously. he's going through a tremendous, tremendous amount of suffering right now. the vice president has endured more tragedy than any individual should ever have to in his life. i have a tremendous amount of respect about how he's overcome
that. but at the end of the day, if he were to enter the race, it would we about his record. i feel good about our chances against him. >> who would be a stronger democratic candidate, hillary clinton, bernie sanders or joe biden? >> i'll take any of them. honest to god. >> who worries you the most? >> look, hillary clinton's got a machine behind her that no one else does. so from that standpoint, from a purely ground game standpoint, i think hillary clinton always will enter this race with an advantage. but i think where we are as a party, where chairman priebus has positioned this party since 2012 both in terms of our political ground game, our data infrastructure, whenever one of these 15 candidates emerges as a nominee, we'll be ready to go. we've been reaching out in communities we haven't in the pst and we'll coast to victory in 2016. >> what do you think about the fact that some of these candidates are refusing to say they would support donald trump -- he's the front-runner right now nationally among republicans, all the early battleground states, they're saying they would not vote for him because he's not qualified
to be commander in chief. when you hear that, i thought these guys all signed a pledge. what did that pledge say? >> it said they would support the nominee of our party. >> bobby jindal, the governor of louisiana, refuses to say to me -- and i pressed him repeatedly -- would you support him, he wouldn't say that. but george pataki, the former governor of new york says flatly he couldn't vote for donald trump because he's not qualified to be president. >> look, they signed a pledge saying that they would. i take them at their word. as you saw, governor jindal didn't say no, he just didn't answer the question. i believe when we have a nominee, our party will be unified. you saw it in 2008, hillary clinton and barack obama went at it epically. that worked well for their party. they had a lot of excitement on their side. you are seeing that on steroids this cycle for our side. they had a high water mark of 11 million people watching that debate. i think we'll see a similar
level of enthusiasm and intensity and excitement tomorrow night for our party again. and you'll see that continue through the rest of the cycle. look, primaries are tough. people say a lot of things. but at the end of the day, our party will always come together because the alternative is unacceptable. >> have you said anything to george pataki? he signed that pledge but said he would not vote for donald trump. >> i'll take his signature at what it is. he signed a document saying he would support it. but i believe all our candidates sign something. they said they'd commit. i believe at the end of this process, everybody will be on board with that nominee. >> reince priebus, the chairman of the rnc had conversations with all of the campaigns asking them to tone it down tomorrow night. >> no. because i think we have publicly -- chairman priebus has talked about what i just mentioned repeatedly. he's a big believer in reagan's commitment. there's no better place to echo
that sentiment that ronald reagan a espoused what our party should be for. the chairman has said that over and over again. some candidates will heed that, others may not. but at the end of the day, what's best for our party is what the chairman has said over and over again is to stay focused on what makes us better and why they are not an acceptable alternative. >> this ad attacking donald trump. a group in washington that spent a million dollars. what do you think of that? >> again, i'd rather have all the money on our side focused on hillary clinton. i understand that that's not realistic. but we have a historic opportunity to retake this white house, to put a republican president back in and to enact conservative principles up and down. and we should focus on that more than anything else. >> a beautiful setting for a debate. >> absolutely gorgeous. congratulations for being here. >> thank you very much. sean spicer, the communications director for the rnc. you're sticking around for it, right? >> i'm not going anywhere.
the republican presidential candidates are one day away from their second debate. you can see it here tomorrow night on cnn. you can hear the debate across the country on the salem radio network. go to salemmedia.com. ted cruz down in the polls but definitely not out. i'll speak with a spokesman about his strategy going into the debate. and the stakes could not be higher for tomorrow night's debate. what do the candidates need to do to break out of the gop pack?
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ask your hep c specialist if harvoni is right for you. we're now less than 24 hours before the cnn republican presidential debate right here at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. the stakes are obviously very high all around obviously for the candidates polling in single digits including the texas senator ted cruz. his national spokesman rick tyler is here with us. a beautiful setting for a debate. what's your guys' strategy for tomorrow night? >> what senator cruz needs to do is get people to understand and sort of project forward. look at all the candidates and where do you see the country in four years? and so many people are upset,
wolf, with the base of this party. so when you have so many people upset with the base of the party you see the rise of people who are nonpoliticians. senator cruz has only been elected 2 1/2 years but he's demonstrated what he'll do what he says he'll do. there's only one way to judge that and that's by what they've done. senator cruz has taken a leadership role in planned parenthood, on obamacare, on the debt. he's gone against the establishment and hasn't drunk the kool-aid of the power structure of washington, d.c. >> because he's obviously a very smart guy, a talented politician. he speaks very, very fiercely, tough on his issues. he hasn't yet resonated as like ben carson or donald trump. >> well, i think in a way the last debate 24 million people hopefully cnn will get at least that many viewers. tens of millions of people never really knew much about senator cruz or only through the lens of the media. they got to hear from him.
our support doubled after the last debate. i hope that happens again because they'll see that senator cruz is the most prepared to be president. and if you look at everybody, ask yourself who is the most prepared to be president, with senator cruz's experience, he's been solicitor general and argued nine cases before the supreme court, he's workeded in the bush administration, been a senator for two years and worked hard to represent the tea party and conservative values in the senate. >> you saw the new numbers that cbs and "the new york times" times comparing their numbers from august versus now. trump went to 27% about, ben carson from 6% to 23%. look at how close it is. ted cruz 6% in august, he's at 5% now. he needs to be more assertive, maybe more aggressive. he's got to stand out tomorrow night. so you've gone through what he needs to do. talk about what we can expect. >> what we can expect is for -- let me tell you what i think i expect in the whole camp. i think you'll see a lot of food
fighting and people attack each other. some of the candidates have said that they need to attack trump, and a lot of that's going to go on. jake tapper who is moderating the debate said he wants to pit one candidate against the other. that's fine. where there's a difference in policy, senator cruz will make the difference. he's stood up on so many issues like amnesty and had a consistent position on it, like raising the debt ceiling, like fighting obamacare and still is fighting obama care. he'll have an opportunity to show his leadership on those issues. and i don't think he's going to engage in any kind of food fight. >> there's been no food fight between senator ted cruz and donald trump. these two guys obviously like each other. cruz has refused to go after trump. trump doesn't go after cruz. at that last anti-nuclear deal with iran, the two of them are sort of co-hosting it at the capitol rally. they were hugging each other. some are saying this is a bromance. >> last night in dallas, our
state, and he mentioned senator cruz's name to cheers. so yes, senator cruz has said that he likes donald trump. he likes donald trump being in the race. one of the races is he focused the media and people's attention on the issues likeimmigration. so when donald trump gets the media talking about immigration, senator cruz has a great record on immigration. so we get to talk about those issues. he draws media attention to those issues. senator cruz's record on those issues has been terrific. >> you talk about a trump/cruz ticket. >> cruz/trump. >> trump/cruz. >> cruz/trump. he's running for president of the united states. he's not running for vice president of the united states. >> he's not ruling it out. >> he's the most prepared for president of the united states. he'll get the nomination and we'll get the delegates, i'm
confident. >> when you say a food fight, it could be among some of the others. like for example, who do you think? >> well, jeb bush has been taking on senator -- mr. trump and carly fiorina has been taking on mr. trump. ben carson, to some extent, has been taking on -- back away from that, so we'll see that. a lot of people have a stake in they're getting further on the wings where the other people are getting closer toward the center. they don't want to be in the wings, they want to be in the center. their balance will be how do i get attention without looking like i'm getting too much attention? remember in the last debate, the people that got the most attention actually went down in the polls. senator cruz got double because he was the most googled in the beginning of the debate because people said i like what he says. i don't know enough about him. >> just clarify quickly because we're almost out of time. when senator cruz and mike huckabee were in kentucky to support kim davis, the county clerk who refused to sign
same-sex marriage, there was a little controversy over the fact that he was not allowed up on the stage, senator cruz, when huckabee was there making that presentation supporting kim davis. what happened there? was he pushed aside by governor huckabee. >> no, thanks for asking. we never intended to go on the stage, we never asked to goen the stage and we weren't invited to go on the stage. we came out of visiting kim davis. and kim davis was very appreciative, almost emotional meeting. and he came out and theed ed m called him over to give a few words but the governor had already arranged that press conference, so they asked him not to address the media at that point. so he stepped aside. but he was never forced or kept from talking to anybody. but he was never invited on stage. >> why didn't they invite him to come up on the stage? he was there, a united states senator or presidential candidate showing support for kim davis. why wouldn't they invite him up on the stage. >> you would have to ask governor huckabee.
>> were you upset about that? >> no, it was their event. we don't invite people to our events except for the rally, we invited donald trump. >> and you were happy with that rally. >> very much. >> rick tyler, national spokesman for cruz for president of the united states. you can see the republican presidential debate right here on cnn. stay with us for that. for some candidates it could be a make or break night. what do they have to do to keep their campaigns alive. the deadly wildfire burning out of control in northern california right now. the flames are threatening 9,000 homes. we'll go there live. at ally bank no branches equals great rates. it's a fact. kind of like shopping hungry equals overshopping. we danced in a german dance group. i wore lederhosen.man. when i first got on ancestry
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we're counting down to tomorrow night's cnn republican presidential debate here at the ronald reagan presidential library. the latest polls showing donald trphe candidate to beat, but dr. ben carson now a very close second after a major surge. let's get some more with our cnn chief political analyst gloria borger. our senior political aimist ron bronstein is the director of the national journal. and the host of cnn smerconish, michael smerconish. and nia mmalika henderson.
you said the dynamics of this debate could be impacted by the setting, the venue. this is a much smaller room than that huge basketball auditorium in cleveland. >> i was really struck by the intimacy in that hangar, only 500 seats. donald trump feeds off of crowds. this won't be there for him. wolf, i remember you asking a question of ron paul in the 2012 cycle in tampa where you posed a hypothetical about a patient that had no insurance and needed medical treatment. there was elicited from the audience, a cry, it's okay if they die. there won't be this element in this arena. >> a different setting, you agree, gloria. >> oh, yeah, like a new hampshire town hall in a way. it may benefit somebody like a jeb bush who has been out there in new hampshire, john kasich's been out there in new hampshire in those small settings. you know, as michael points out, trump plays to a larger audience and loves that. >> that audience is right there
on him. they are right there on top of them. this will be intimate, almost cloistered. >> i walked through there this morning. only 500 attendees. this may be the hottest ticket out here in california right now. and these are special people who received invitations? >> that's right. these are invitations sent out by the reagan library. some rnc folks sent out invitations to the candidates obviously had invitations to send out as well. this is more like a golf clapping kind of crowd and not the raucous basketball crowd that we saw. that will play into this debate. they won't be able to feed off of this crowd, as you all said, but ultimately in some ways the television audience will see that. if you saw in ohio kasich was able to play to that home crowd and it almost looked like he won the debate. they won't be able to pack the stands in the way they have been in other debates. >> the fact that it's here, michael, at the reagan presidential library, for so
many people this is almost hallowed ground. >> each and every one of them invoke ronald reagan as often as they can. the true heir to the throne is michael reagan, his eldest son. i asked him which among them is the heir apparent. he said probably rick perry, the one that just got out. the least reagan-like is donald trump. >> reagan would have a lot of problems in this electorate. reagan in 1986 signed the law that it was viewed as an amnesty on immigration. >> some of the pro-immigration groups now using ronald reagan as sort of a backdrop to going after donald trump. >> you know, that's fascinating. because the immigration issue, what we're seeing already emerge in the republican race is a very clear class divide. you look at the abc/"washington post" poll out, donald trump was 40% among republicans without a college degree. in a 15-person field he was at
40%. no one was half at that level. among college-educated republicans, much closer. that upscale/downscale divide. much more blue collar than white collar republicans support the kind of positions we've been hearing from donald trump as well as his view on entitlements, trade and taxes. he's developing a blue collar populism in the republican party. whether it's big enough to win is the question. >> some of the other candidates, particularly jeb because he's got a web video -- his super pac has a web video out will try to contrast their own optimism with donald trump's as jeb's web video calls it, darkness. and you know, this question of is it morning in america, do you want to make america great again. so i think you're going to see that from jeb bush not only contrasting his record as a conservative but also contrasting his optimism. and kasich is another candidate i think he'll be talking -- >> john kasich, the ohio
governor who is very popular in ohio. nia, the fact that you have this pro jeb bush super pac is now going to spend 25% of their $100 million dollars. they would have loved to have kept that money for down the road, but they're going to spend it now. what does that say? >> some people say, listen, maybe they should have been spending little by little all along. but this is a quarter of what they've got in the bank. they didn't have such a great august after that huge haul they had in previous cycles. not a great sign of the messages that he's the real conservative in this race and talking about his record going against teachers unions, whether or not that resonates with this crowd -- >> he's really, michael, jeb bush, he's really got to excel. >> there are some candidates among those 11 that can play long ball. marco rubio at the top of my list. >> kasich.
>> john kasich. they can hang in. pressure is on jeb. >> scott walker was supposed to win iowa. now single digits. having a lot of trouble getting any traction in this campaign. he's got to distinguish himself in some way tomorrow night. >> you know, with that bush 25%, i feel like we're in vegas. making this motion right here. putting all the chips on the table. but look, bush is the natural inheritor of those upscale republicans who are more skeptical of trump, who are less in line with the agenda, less likely to see him as having the personal qualities it takes to succeed as president, but bush simply is not connecting with those voters. to the extent they are connecting, it's been carson. >> there are two debates. one is the outsider lane debate and the other is the establishment or experienced lane. and those guys are competing to be the alternative to the outsider. >> we're getting excited.
less than 24 hour until the debates here at the reagan library. guy, thanks very much. please be sure to join us tomorrow night as the candidates face off right here at the ronald reagan presidential library in this, the second republican presidential debate you will see it only here on cnn. just ahead, thousands and thousands of people fleeing a massive wildfire advancing, threatening 9,000 homes. plus my interview with the united states supreme court justice stephen breyer speaking candidly about same-sex marriage and that kentucky clerk who defied the united states supreme court. the promise of the cloud is that every organization has unlimited access to information, no matter where they are. the microsoft cloud gives our team the power to instantly deliver critical information to people, whenever they need it. here at accuweather, we get up to 10 billion data requests every day. the cloud allows us to scale up so we can handle that volume.
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we're doing everything we can to give you the best experience possible. because we should fit into your life. not the other way around. we're live at the ronald reagan presidential library in simi valley, california. we're counting down to the republican candidates debate right here on cnn. but we're also following other major stories as well including almost 600 homes already destroyed, 67,000 acres charred and the valley fire in northern california is still burning out of control. right now crews are fighting to save 9,000 homes being threatened by the flames. cnn's stephanie elam is in middletown, one of the hardest hit communities. she joins us live. what's the latest on this fire? >> well, wolf, when you take a look at it, you can see where i
am. this has been a total loss for the people who lived here in middletown. but that doesn't mean the battle to stop this valley fire is over. raging fires sweeping across california. the valley fire devouring 600 homes and threatening another 9,000. now, the first death. a 72-year-old woman with multiple sclerosis under able to get out of her house. >> i'm just driving around, i'm in shock. and i'm a fireman. what do you do? you have to keep working. >> reporter: 67,000 acres scorched so far. in this fire west of sacramento. which sent 13,000 people looking for shelter. east of the city, the butte fire has scorched 71,000 acres, forcing another 11,000 residents to flee. that fire has destroyed more than 160 homes. >> this is my street. make a left. and there's nothing there. so my house was right there.
>> reporter: heading back home to check on her family's property, tammy moore isn't prepared for what she sees. what is it like to actually see it with your own eyes? >> so much worse than i thought. i even though i expected it to be bad, i didn't expect to see everything gone. >> reporter: as more crews race toward the fires, some progress is being made, but it's slow. containment is only at 15% for the valley fire and about a third for the butte fire. >> there's fire everywhere. and our house, our neighbors' house, friends' houses, everybody's houses are burning up. it's awful. rr and firefighters are bracing for a long battle. as the fire season could rage on for months. and if you take a look behind us, wolf, you can see that there's a plume of smoke that's rising up here from that valley
fire. that's threatening a lot of people who live out in the mountain communities here. they are fighting this fire from the sky again. and speaking of help coming from the sky, there may be more tomorrow as rain is in the forecast. wolf. >> that would be great. all right, stephanie, thanks very, very much. there's some disturbing new developments in syria right now where the russian president, vladimir putin, is now opening sending weapons and troops in a move certain to complicate syria's deadly civil war. let's go to our pentagon correspondent barbara starr. she's working the story for us. what are you finding out? >> here at the pentagon defense secretary ash carter is actually laying low about all of this, deferring to the secretary of state john kerry. a lot of people in the administration, however, very concerned about russia's military moves. russian president vladimir putin now openly defiant in sending russian weapons and troops into syria to prop up president bashar al assad.
>> translator: we have provided and will provide all the necessary military and technical support. >> we are going to be engaging russia to let them know that you can't continue to double down on a strategy that's doomed to fail. >> reporter: the u.s. looking for a way to stop a soviet-style intervention by putin. >> what we would prefer to see from the russians is a more constructive engagement with the 60-member coalition that's led by the united states that's focused on degrading and ultimately destroying isil. >> reporter: but more than a dozen flights of large russian transport planes have flown from southern russia across iran and iraq into syria. carrying half a dozen tanks, large artillery pieces and some three dozen armored personnel carriers as well as some equipment for up to 1500 troops. it's all going here to a coastal airfield where commercial satellite imagery has captured airfield construction and
improvements. the pentagon believes all of this will become a russian operating base. secretary of state john kerry talking again today to russian foreign minister sergey lavrov. no indication the russians are changing their minds. a new grim assessment from the head of u.s. military intelligence suggesting both iraq and syria may be gone as countries the world once knew. >> i can see a time in the future when syria's fractured into probably two or three parts. again, not the ideal because that comes with some unknowns. that's going to be a tough one to put back of this could explode into the political arena tomorrow. the senate armed services committee calling top pentagon and military officials in for public hearing about all of this. wolf? >> thank you. up next, my 101 interview
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immigration, the death penalty. all very controversial issues likely to come up in tomorrow night's cnn republican presidential debate right here at the reagan library in california. i talked about all of those issues with the united states supreme court justice stephen breyer. he's written a brand-new very important book entitled "the court and the world," reflecting on his two decades on the court
and the global context for his rulings. >> my reaction when i see it, the same justice brennan years ago. he said when there are difficult cases that come up with be particularly when they involve a federal issue, they'll come to us eventually. >> you think this is not settled law necessarily and eventually this question of whether same-sex marriage should be authorized all over the country is once again going to come before the justices of the supreme court. >> what is settled law is what we wrote and how these issues play out on the margin is something i don't yet know. but i know there's a chance. >> some of the republican presidential candidates are making a major issue out of this right now and that this republican presidential debate that is about to take place, when they go ahead and say, you know what? these are just five lawyers who are making this decision and they can't -- they can't write laws, they can't make laws, they're going beyond the constitution. when you hear that kind of talk, what do you say?
>> every judge knows that many of the decisions that we make will be unpopular. we also know, absolutely, that since we are only human, there are often -- perhaps not too often, we hope -- may be wrong. if they're 5-4, somebody may be wrong. but eventually a country, whether it is the united states or some other country, decides, well, benefits of a rule of law are worth it. >> some of the rhetoric though right now, in kentucky the other day, there were signs equating the supreme court with isis as a result of the decision authorizing, allowing same-sex marriage to go forward throughout the country. is this extraordinary right now what's going on? >> there have been plenty of times in history where the court has been the subject of very strong criticism. is that criticism protected? the first amendment, congress shall pass no law abridging the freedom of speech.
people are entitled to their opinion. >> all persons born or naturalized in the united states and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the united states and the state wherein they reside. you're familiar with those words. >> that's the 14th amendment. >> when you hear some like donald trump and others say, you know what? thatting can changed. that some people, children who are born in the united states, should not be citizens automatically citizens of the united states. what's your understanding? your interpretation? >> that the first amendment says congress shall pass no law abridging freedom of speech. everyone has freedom of speech. but judges, do they have freedom of speech? they have to be very, very, very careful when they make a remark that could be interpreted politically. >> but is it your understanding that if they want to change the wording, it has to be changed with a constitutional amendment or statute? >> you're talking about something a candidate for president said? >> yes. >> and my reaction as a judge is
to stay as far away from that as i possibly can. >> do you question whether the court should revisit the constitutionality of the death penalty? >> i put together this evidence and say, this is not what people expected when they wrote the cases upholding the death penalty for more than 40 years ago. therefore, i think it is time to revisit the issue. >> in his new book, "the court and the world," justice breyer suggests that now because the world is so interdependent, the supreme court is considering complex cases. on national security. human rights. copyright. that involve other countries and their laws. he says the court must be willing to look beyond u.s. borders, even if it seems controversial. >> it is the world that has changed, and if we do not participate through even institutions like the supreme court, the world will get on without us and we will have a world that has a less humane, decent rule of law than we
advocate here in the united states. >> reporter: breyer knows some of his fellow justices might disagree with his views, and he admits such cases on obamacare have led to disagreements with the justices on the bench but says those disagreements have never become personal. >> do you guys have dinner together? do you talk together? do you have parties together? >> is not sort of slap on the back, let's go out for a drink. which is sort of the leelgssh relationship on the court of appeals. but we are friends and we do have dinner together. i have never in 21 years in that conference room heard a voice raised in anger and i have never heard one justice in that room say something insulting about another, not even really as a joke. personally, we get on well. it is very professional. you decide the cases seriously and thoroughly. and then there is no reason we can't be friends. but there's no reason that human
beings cannot differ civilly -- civilly -- on matters of great importance. >> justice stephen breyer, thank you. that's it for me. i'm wolf blitzer. erin burnett "outfront" starts right now. "outfront" tonight, standing by for a major speech by donald trump tonight on the deck of the "uss iowa," trump expected to detail his national security plan. we are live in los angeles. while trump speaks, his republican opponents are hunkered down preparing for tomorrow night's crucial face-off with the front-runner in less than 24 hours. carly fiorina, a trump insult pumped new life into her campaign. will there be a trump/fiorina showdown at the debate? let's go "outfront." good evening, "tf